Understanding Grids – Lighting Tutorial

Understanding Grids – Lighting Tutorial


– Subscribe to The Slanted Lens.
Subscribe! Don’t be an idiot, push the button! Hi. This is J.P. Morgan, and
today we’re shooting at the YouTube space for the first time. I am so excited to be
here. You know, I’ve been looking forward to shooting here for some time. And today
is finally the day. So, let’s get started and see what we can do. ♪ [jazz music] ♪ Hi. This is J. P. Morgan. Today on the Slanted Lens we’re going to take a look
at Grids. You know, if I could only have one light modifier, what would it be? It
wouldn’t be a Grid. But, if I had two light modifiers, the second one would
definitely be a Grid. I’d have an Octodome and a Grid. ‘Cause Grids are very focused,
they give you a wonderful pool of light. It’s an easy way to control light. So,
we’re gonna show you a little neo-Noir photograph here. Guns and smoke and cars.
So, let’s get started and see what we can do. We’re going to shoot a film Noir shot
using Grids on strobe heads and we’re going to mix that with a similar light
that gives a very similar look in the film industry called a Source 4 light. I want
to show how Grids work and how you can light with them, at the same time mixing
them with tungsten light. Grids are a honeycomb metal insert
that goes into the front of a reflector. Usually it’s gonna be a 7″ reflector. They
restrict the area of coverage for the strobe. I love them because they really
give you a lot more control when you’re working with light. Let’s look at the area
of coverage for different Grid spots. At six feet from the wall with a 10 degree
Grid you get about a 3 foot area of coverage. The light does not spill or fill
the area outside of that area of coverage. This image was shot 1/60 of a second at
F6.3. That’s gonna be important to our comparison. As we get a larger Grid we get
more exposure, ’cause it’s allowing more to pass through the Grid. So, at six feet
from the wall with a 20 degree Grid we get about a five foot area of coverage. Let’s
move to the 30 degree Grid. Again we gained about two thirds of a stop. We’re
opening the Grid up allowing more light to pass through, it’s gonna give us more
exposure. Our area of coverage is about six feet now.
Our last Grid is the 40 degree Grid. It’s very wide and gains about two thirds of a
stop again. It covers about eight feet and is bleeding into a shadow areas more
than the other Grids did. Grid light is directional and not soft. The spill in the
shadow areas of the image increases as you go to larger Grids. A 10 degree Grid does
not bleed into the shadows almost at all, but by the time you get to a 40 degree
Grid it’s bouncing some light into the shadow areas. The reasons is that the Grid
openings become large enough that they allow the light to bounce off the sides of
the reflector and bleed into the shadow areas. Grids are perfect for a film Noir
shot with a hard light and deeper shadow. Let’s now take a look at our shots
and see how we used our Grids. Our set is very simple. It’s a black curtain in the
background and black plastic on the floor. We’re gonna put some water on the
floor so it just looks like it just rained. It got puddles everywhere. We’re
going to need a streetlight. Actually we need three of them. We’re going to build
these ourselves. So, here’s a little DIY streetlight project for you. We took a
four inch ABS pipe and stepped it down to a two inch ABS pipe using an ABS step down
collar. This will give our lights some shape and not having to be with just one
straight line. To hold it in place we bolted an ABS end cap to a piece of three
quarter inch plywood. Then we just shove our streetlight onto that cap, and it
stays right in place. The carriage lights come with screws that simply tighten to
the top of the pole. And there you go. For $60 each we got three DIY streetlights. A
couple of sandbags and it’s great to go. We’re going to use the Rosco Hazer to fill
the room with haze and create the mood. We set the hazer up and set the output to
about six or seven, and then gave about 30 second bursts every few minutes. But once you get it
balanced it’ll give you constant haze all day long on a gallon of fluid. We’re
going to add some smoke at times in the background with a vapor machine just to
give the image a little bit of depth. That’s gonna look really cool, especially
when it catches that blue light. I absolutely love this machine. Now for our light. I wanted
a car in the shot, but at the last second it canceled on me. So now, I’m going to
have to create a car on the image with just a couple of lights. We took two
Area-650 lights, put them on a crossbar and used this as our car lights.
The bar and the stand were both wrapped with the black fabric to hide them from
view. For our streetlights we’re going to use a Source 4 light on a stand aimed
straight down towards the floor. Source 4 lights are a very pinpoint light source.
We’re going to shape the light pattern coming off of our streetlight. And as it
reflects into the smoke it’s going to look like that light is coming right off from
our streetlight. Here’s an image with just our Tungsten light song. You know, this
isn’t bad just on its own. We’re gonna set our white bounce on Tungsten, and then
we’re gonna put Full CTO, that’s orange, on all of our strobes. Here’s our first
image with only the Tungsten light on. We’re now going to add a PhotoFlex
FlexFlash in the background. I am not going to put any orange on this light. I
want this to go blue and add some depth to that background. Our next light is a
FlexFlash on camera right with a 20 degree Grid spot. It’s on a short stand shooting
on a dead guy. It’s suppose to imitate the light coming off from a car. Now we will
add our key light on her face. This is a FlexFlash 400 Watt second light with a 10
degree Grid. I’m gonna have my assistant handhold this light and keep it pointed
right at her nose. This is the downside of using Grids. When you get down to a 10
degree Grid the area of coverage is very small, so someone has got to babysit that
light. They gotta make sure that it’s always on your subject. Because if they
move very much, you’ll lose ’em, and your light’s not doing any good. So, I
usually have an assistant handhold this light and just work side to side with the
person. We’re now going to add a fill light from the front. We added a Dynalite
strobe head with ND to get it dark enough and shoot it through
a folded fusion. It shoots a simple fill light, but you can see that it opens his
face up just a little bit and certainly opens up her shoulder. Our last light is a
rim light from camera left. It has a 20 degree Grid and it will rim her hair and
cover his face. We can pan this right or left to increase or decrease the light on
his face. The nice thing about Grids is they are very soft on the outside edges of
the area of coverage. So, when you pan it over a little bit it can become a little
harsh around her back, but a little softer on his face. So, this one light, one Grid,
kinda becomes two different lights with two different light qualities. It’s a
really nice look. So, there’s our lighting set. Here some of the images before any
retouching. Let’s look some of these and see what we got. There’s some fun stuff
here. ♪ [jazz music] ♪ Here are four retouched images from
our shoot. ♪ [jazz music] ♪ Now the real test of a good film Noir
image is, how does it look in black and white?
So, I took the four final images into SilverEffects in Nick software and
converted them into black and white. Here’s what we got. The secret to good
black and white is contrast. You want to put dark areas against light areas. We
really worked to do that with a smoke and the back light. And I think we’ve got some
great images. As much as I love the look of these in black and white, I still have
a desire for a little bit of color. So, I went back to our color images and took
them into Nick Software into their Color Effects 4. I did a Bleach Bypass look at
those. So, it just took some color out of them, added a little bit of tonal
contrast. It’s just kind of the sense of old and new, kind of vintage but a little
bit of color. I really love the look. This was a lot of fun. Great look, great
images. Very simple set but a lot of work. I hope this lesson has been very
beneficial to you and you’ve learned some things about Grids. They really are very
applicable on set. You can go from very narrow area coverage to a larger area of
coverage. The thing that I learned the most about this, and the thing that I
enjoy the most about Grids, is that soft edge of a Grid has a very soft transition.
I actually like it. Hard in the middle, soft on the edges. Something that you can
apply in your next shoot. So, keep those cameras rolling, keep on clicking. ♪ [jazz music] ♪ This is my favorite smoke machine of all time made by Rosco. It’s a V-Hazer. We’re
giving away one in January. So, go to TheSlantedLens.com. Absolutely do not miss
out on this. Go to TheSlantedLens.com. A V-Hazer, man! ♪ jazz music ♪


53 thoughts on “Understanding Grids – Lighting Tutorial

  1. I love how your videos are so detailed!I definately have soooo much to learn about photography/filming since I started my youtube channel and your vidoes are helpful and very inspiring :).Thank you 

  2. Are you able to do a video that goes into more of the production costs and logistics of doing a shoot like this!

  3. Awesome video again! Very informative, humorous, great quality and great results – everything seems to be so easy – that´s the way only your team and you can do it. You made my day 🙂
    How did you manage the right exposure?

  4. Your shoots are really great! But it looks so expensive the way you do things. Just looking at your crew…. whewww! You have so much help! I wonder how much it cost you to do this shoot. On the plus side, there is a lot to learn from your shoots. The good thing is, you explain things as you go. Reason why I am a subscriber. Keep shooting!

  5. I find that I look forward to these vids more and more. I appreciate the way that you show how you build the light setup, it is so educational. Seeing it take shape and hearing the reasoning behind it is just excellent. Please keep them coming.

  6. I really enjoy the creativeness that you continue to bring out. I enjoy watching you create such a distinctive style of lighting. I love this 40's look.

  7. I understand the 'degrees' in the grid corresponds to the size of the honeycombs, but what does it mean? how do you come up w the 'degrees'? just confused on the term…

  8. Very cool. The image at 6:58 is probably more of what a street light would look like though. I like the idea of shining your strobes down through them, but the angle of the actual light just looks too fake.

  9. Amazing work! A great reference for what we can do with lighting. One doesn't need to make such a huge set, but each individual step of this production can be a lesson for a future work!

  10. The Angry Photographer also has a clear(er) explanation as to what it is actually happening. While this might be an interesting concept, no one is going to shoot mock night rain scenes. It's clearly water dumped on plastic sheeting aka fake. Something more common and practical would have been better.

  11. I keep mixing you up with Matt Granger, JP. Sorry lol. But I like the both of you and your tutorials, helpful in heaps.

  12. this is why gear is just as important as content. you use gear to shape your story, I'm not saying buy the most expensive stuff. but buy what you can to get what you want

  13. I often use grids for the hard light quality. The thought never occurred to me to try and use the edge of a grid to get a softer light from the grid. I need to try this. Thanks for the suggestion.

  14. how do you call these kinda jobs, like working on the floor like this where you putting equipments together and stuffs

  15. Intimidating (because of the speed of the video and constant flow of information all in a shorter span of time), but excellent.

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